Bayan Muna Chairman and former congressman Neri Colmenares that the Consultative Committee (Concom) Federal Constitution allows the Transition Commission to terminate public officials and government employees, including those with permanent status, giving President Rodrigo Duterte the opportunity to appoint practically all government officials and employees.
“Article XXI Sec. 2 empowers Pres. Duterte’s Transition Commission to promulgate a transition plan to reorganize the government. Sec. 8 states that ‘All officials of the government under the 1987 Constitution shall continue to hold their office under such terms and conditions as may be provided in the transition plan’. This means Pres. Duterte can terminate any government official based on his transition plan and also appoint their replacement. Pres. Duterte will practically appoint almost all government officials in one fell swoop” revealed Bayan Muna Chairman and former Congressman Neri Colmenares.
“Even permanent officials and employees will not be spared since Sec. 9 states that “Permanent employees of the government separated from service as a result of the reorganization of government shall be entitled to separation pay, early retirement pay or retirement pay. The assurance of separation pay is of no moment, as many government employees will be deprived of work. This will make Pres. Duterte more powerful and intimidating as he can replace any official that may not agree with his policies,” he added.
Colmenares also warned that this power will threaten the independence of judiciary. “This power of Pres. Duterte’s Transition Commission will threaten the independence of the judiciary as it can threaten judges with termination. This is no different from the practice of Pres. Ferdinand Marcos who required the courtesy resignation of all judges when he declared martial law in 1972 on the guise of reorganization” said the progressive former solon. ”
Colmenares added that the threat of term extension and no election is real even in the Concom proposal. “Article XXI Sec. 5 of the Concom Constitution provides that “The first elections under this Federal Constitution xxx shall be on the 2nd Monday of May 2022”. This means that if they railroad Charter change (Cha-cha’s) ratification in 2018, the 2019 election will be cancelled since the new Constitution states that the first election is in 2022.
“That is why many politicians want to rush this Cha-cha before the 2019 election to cancel the elections and extend their terms. Just like the other Cha-chas before, this Cha-cha is not about federalism. It is about no election (no-el), and term extension. Worse, it is also about the imposition of a Duterte dictatorship”, ended Colmenares. ###